When a business is working with children under 18 or vulnerable adults as part of their regular role, the government suggests that employees have a history check to ensure there is nothing that might make them unsuitable for such a position.
To help, the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau) has been set up to help employers take reasonable steps to employ suitable people in their businesses. As a dance school, having access to the checks is useful, but you will need to register to use the DBS service. Once registered, the DBS can offer advice to employers, such as providing workable clauses for contracts of employment or handbooks and policies for your business, should you have them.
Organisations such as dance schools offering lessons to children should go one step further and take out an Enhanced Check on prospective employees who will work directly with children, which consults the Vetting and Barring List. It takes around three to four weeks for the full check to be run and returned, so be sure to factor that time in before leaving someone unsupervised with children.
Registration with the DDC is free, but fees for checks vary depending on whether the check is being run on an employee or a volunteer, so ask before you apply. Most certificates are only valid for a single employer unless a transferable check has been purchased. If someone has a valid certificate for one position, as a volunteer at a dance school or an occasional member of staff, they might need to get another check or pay for a transferable one to give you the peace of mind that you have covered everything from a Due Diligence perspective.
It is worth looking into the checks you need for people you work with to keep your customers – the children – safe. Being able to demonstrate Due Diligence will be attractive to prospective parents to know that you take safety seriously.
No amount of checks can ever prevent all incidents, but taking precautions will help and will give your business credibility.